the fall time, cozy time tag

I was tagged for the Fall Time, Cozy Time tag by the lovely Caro! I love doing tags and I love fall, so really, this is the perfect tag for me!

crunching leaves–a book that has reds/oranges/yellows on the cover

I knew instantly I had to pick When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon for the answer to this prompt. I have always adored this cover and probably would’ve read it based on cover alone if I hadn’t known anything about it when it came out. This cover is just so happy and joyful and makes me smile every time I take it off my shelf.

cozy sweater–what book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Am I allowed to pick a book I read only this month? I must, because Charming as a Verb is so delightful and made me feel all kinds of fuzziness. Henri is such a witty, and yes, charming character, but is also so genuine and I just want to hug him and tell him as long as he does his best he’ll be okay. I also LOVE the romance in this story, because Corrine, the LI, is so powerful and Henri is continuously amazed by her and reading about their romance made me so happy.

fall storm–choose a book you’d like to read on a stormy day

I am ashamed to say I haven’t finished this yet but Cemetery Boys definitely gives me stormy night vibes, as it is about witches and cemeteries and dark magic. Maybe I’ll read it for Mabon this year…

cool crisp air–who’s the coolest character you’d like to trade places with?

I would LOVE to be Leo from the Love, Sugar, Magic series by Anna Meriano. Leo is a little girl whose family runs a magical bakery and discovers all the women in her family are brujas, or witches. I would absolutely love to help out in a bakery, especially a magical one!

hot apple cider–what underhyped book do you want to become the next hottest thing?

I’m actually really surprised the book community didn’t hype up When We Were Magic more when it came out. It’s about a group of teen girls who all have mysterious magical abilities. I loved the friendship and sapphic dynamics in this book and the magic system and how dark it was (the story starts out with the MC accidentally killing a guy at a prom afterparty with her magic). This book is so good and sapphic book twitter needs to GET ON IT.

coats, scarves, and mittens–what’s a book cover you don’t like?

The colors on this make my eyes bleed. Not a fan.

pumpkin spice–what’s your favorite fall time foods/comfort foods?

I am really looking forward to soup season. I have a lot of soup recipes bookmarked on the New York Times Cooking app. I also love hot apple cider and am definitely going to need to make a trip to Trader Joe’s soon because they have amazing cider. I’m also looking forward to it being appropriate tea weather (not that you can’t have tea all the time, but it’s just so much more satisfying when it’s actually cold out).

warm, cozy bonfire–who do you tag?

www wednesday // 9-16-20

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

what are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading one of my BOTM add ons, ONE TO WATCH. This book is about Bea, a plus size fashion blogger, who goes viral in a vitriolic take down of beauty standards on a popular dating show, Main Squeeze. She is then invited to be the titular Main Squeeze of the latest season, after dealing with her own heartbreak.

what are you reading next?

BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was my Book of the Month pick for September since I opted to go with one of the selected member favorites. I’m really interested in reading this one because I’ve never given historical romance a try, and this one, which is about a woman in 1879 who is accepted to Oxford on the condition that she attract men to the suffragist cause. This is also a series, so I am happy to know if I like it there will be more books by this author.

what did you just finish reading?

I won’t lie: I pretty much ended up skimming this book. I liked it at first and was drawn in by Jamal’s friendship with Q and Autumn’s character, but I ended up not being hugely invested in it. I felt like the story read more like a movie, which for me meant that it felt a bit too overdramatic without a lot of development of each issue. I thought Jamal’s relationship with Autumn was tied up too easily, and didn’t believe that she’d stick around after some of the things he did and how much he lied to her. The friendship especially felt too easily resolved which was likely a result of the short timeline in which the story took place, but that aspect of the book had me feeling a bit let down by the execution of the concept.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?

revisiting: things I want to do

A few weeks ago, I included a past post discussing things I want to do in the future in a list of posts to read to get to know me. I wrote this post when I was in a very dark emotional place, and since I’ve improved in my mental health so drastically over the past few months, I was really interested to read it and see which things I’ve done or have taken steps to do. So today, I am going to revisit that post and check on my progress and take stock of what I’m doing to reach those goals:

  • Get a job I’m passionate about.  I am definitely working toward this. Things at the library have been a lot better for me lately, and I think they will continue to improve with my confidence. I’m also taking steps to get more publishing experience so hopefully someday I can get a part time or remote job in the publishing industry.
  • Marry my bae. Not yet, but eventually.
  • Move to a bigger place. We are in the last year of living at our current place and have started looking at two bedroom places, which will be much easier to afford now that I’m making slightly more and my partner is going to have a full time job soon.
  • Work on my grimoire more. I have not done this and I don’t know why?
  • Get a new car. I did this! I got a new car in December and I love it!
  • Learn ukulele. I have not done this, despite my mother kindly gifting me a ukulele.
  • Write a book. Lol. I have definitely not done this nor taken any steps to do so.
  • Write poetry. Lol. See above.
  • Rescue all the cats. Can’t really do this until I have a big house to store all the kitties.
  • Reach 1,000 blog followers. I am definitely getting there! I’m now at over 650 followers, which is the most I’ve ever had on a book blog, and I’m really proud of myself and grateful for the friendships I’ve made!
  • Change my name and pronouns. I DID THIS. I am now out at work and am looking into changing my name legally.
  • Experiment with YouTube. I have done this a bit. It hasn’t gone anywhere so far, but who knows.
  • Feel more okay than not. VERY happy to report I have done this! I feel so much better than when I first drafted this post, and have made progress in leaps and bounds. I am really thankful that I have such good health insurance and work with professionals who were able to get me the help I needed. This was my ultimate goal, and I am so happy that I feel so much better.

sapphic saturdays reading possibilities!

Today is a very exciting day because I am going to be telling you about a few of the books I want to dive into for a really cool event called Sapphic Saturdays, a 24-hour readathon on September 12-13 dedicated to consuming sapphic content! If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out Arin and Brittany’s new blog for the event, on which you will find a plethora of EXCELLENT book recommendations. They also have an Instagram.

Without further ado, let’s get on to my TBR!

Now, I am most certainly not going to get to 6 books, or probably even 1 whole one, if I’m honest, because I SUCK at 24-hour readathons. HOWEVER there are just so many amazing sapphic books on my TBR that I want to read so you are getting a long, overly ambitious and impossible TBR.

  • You Should See Me in a a Crown – I am so embarrassed I haven’t read this one yet because I bought it in June and accidentally got approved for the eARC after publication AND it is easily my most anticipated book of the whole year. Sapphics doing their best? Prom court rivals to lovers? Musician MC? WE STAN!!
  • The Midnight Lie – Honestly, it’s the Midnight Lie Bot on Twitter that’s convinced me to move this up on my TBR because every quote makes me go *le gasp*. So obviously I have to read it. I still don’t entirely understand what the actual plot is, but I know it’s sapphic and sapphic twitter is in love with it and that’s really all the recommendation I need.
  • Watch Over Me – I have a wee confession to make: I HATED Nina LaCour’s last sapphic book, WE ARE OKAY. I know, I need to have my bookish sapphic card revoked. So, I am a little apprehensive about this one but the cover is so pretty and the synopsis says flowersfogwaves and it’s ghostie and I’m just gonna try it okay?
  • The Scapegracers – I saw this one on NetGalley quite a few months ago and almost requested it but hadn’t heard of the publisher so was unsure. However, this is another one that sapphic book twitter has convinced me to try because it has lesbian social outcast witches and there is honestly nothing better than sapphic witches.
  • The Dark Tide – Really all I needed to know about this book was that it is sapphic and described as a “dark fairy-tale.” Also, I love an ocean-y island-setting book.
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn – For some reason, this has become one of those books where I keep waiting for perfect reading conditions to read it. I am really pumped about this book, which is inspired by Persian mythology, plus I really liked the author’s first book, a sapphic retelling of Snow White. I am really excited to read this one AND it has an extremely reasonable page count even though it’s fantasy which makes my short-book-loving heart very happy.

I can still think of two more books I could easily add to this potential TBR, but for now I think I am going to try to stick with these to choose from. I am very excited about this event and so happy I actually get a weekend so I can participate before I go back to working on Saturdays.

who i was with her review // sad sapphics

Title: Who I Was With Her
Author: Nita Tyndall
Pages: 352
Date published: September 15, 2020

There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn’t ready for anyone to know she’s bisexual.

But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa — Maggie’s ex and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling.

As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.

I ended up rating this book 3 stars on GR immediately after reading, but the more I think about this book, the more annoyed I get about it, so that rating may change. I didn’t know much about this book going into it so I didn’t really have any expectations about what story to expect, but it still felt like a huge letdown because the book introduced so many complex issues but never managed to flesh any of them out fully. This book deals with a lot, including a first time sapphic relationship, coming out, alcoholism, grief, college, strained family relationships, and more, but none of these reached their full potential for me.

Let’s start with the coming out issue, because that’s the biggest problem I had with this story. Maggie is Corrine’s first girlfriend, and throughout the book she struggles to come to terms with her bisexuality first within herself and then continues to be terrified to come out because of what people will think of her. The book continually mentions Corrine’s terror at the thought of people finding out about her and Maggie, but never really delves into why she was so scared. Whenever pressed by other characters, she simply says “I don’t know” or trails off or changes the subject. We are told that the community she lives in is small and Southern, but personally I didn’t get a real sense of terror that wasn’t just manufactured for the sake of this plotline.

I was also really annoyed by the storyline that emerged about Maggie having pressured Corrine to come out. This made no sense to me because Maggie didn’t seem to be out to many people either, including her parents, so I was confused as to why she was pressuring Corrine to do something she knew she wasn’t ready for when she hadn’t even told everyone in her life. The timeline also made it feel off, because Corrine takes a while to realize she’s bisexual, and it felt weirdly paced to have Maggie start pressuring her to come out to everyone right after. I know the author is queer so I feel really bad saying this, but this felt unnatural to the story and I think it would’ve made more sense for Maggie to be supportive, especially because this part isn’t revealed until about 50% of the way through. That part of the plot felt like something a straight editor wanted put in to make it more understandable to straight people about why Corrine wasn’t out. Not every queer story needs to be about coming out, especially when it’s coming from pressure from other people.

I honestly did not really see the chemistry between Maggie and Corrine either. They’re both runners, but Corrine makes it clear all along that she’s not nearly as passionate about running as Maggie and is basically continuing to reassure her father and keep Maggie’s memory alive. The title of the book may be called WHO I WAS WITH HER, but I’m not really sure who Corrine was with Maggie that was so different from her before or after, because she continued pursuing something she had no passion for or interest in. She was still unsure of herself and very scared of other people’s opinions and unsure of what she wanted to do.

That uncertainty was also the only memorable or notable thing about Maggie’s personality or character, in my opinion. The whole book talks about how she doesn’t know if she wants to run in college, she doesn’t know what she wants to do other than possibly chemistry or science, which is not explored or show, she doesn’t know, doesn’t know, doesn’t know. I get that the message of the book is that it’s okay not to plan your whole life out and figure out what you want to do, but no other options other than going to college or staying are explored, and we don’t know Corrine outside of running, which she doesn’t even like. Corrine’s doubts and uncertainty might be realistic, but it was not interesting to read about and took away a lot of passion that the book had the potential for.

The family relationships were another thing I wanted more resolution and information on that were not truly resolved. Corrine’s mom is an alcoholic, which is delved into a little bit, but when the book ends, Corrine still feels that she needs to take care of her mother and be around for her and the conversation with her father about her mom’s alcoholism is very short and glossed over. Corrine’s relationship with both parents is strained throughout the whole story, and it ended up feeling like a loose end by the time the book ended. The whole ending felt very abrupt because there was not a lot of interaction shown with the characters to make it feel like each issue was resolved, and everything seemed to happen too quickly and neatly.

I do think this book was a very accurate, honest portrayal of grief. Corrine is complex in how she feels and deals with her grief, much more than other parts of her character. Having gone through grief over the death of a friend, I could really relate to some of the messier parts of Corrine’s grieving process, and liked how the author portrayed her struggle of centering her own grief over other people’s and how other people perceived her more selfish ways of dealing with her grief. The way the book was written also captured Corrine’s grief well, as it was perfectly melancholy with hints of lyricism and poeticness that worked well to express Corrine’s emotions.

All this said, I will admit I managed to read this book in a short night and morning. I did like that it had very short chapters, which made a story about such big issues and heavy emotions more manageable. I kept reading because there were a lot of aspects of Corrine’s experience with grief that I related to, and readers who have lost someone will likely feel similarly. It’s also good for anyone looking for affirming bi rep, despite the issues I had with the coming out storyline. This is one I would recommend to fans of Jandy Nelson and Nina LaCour for the writing style and subject matter.

Though I did not love this book, I do hope it finds its way into the hands of bi and sapphic readers who need it.

september readathon round up

Because there were so many readathons taking place in August, I did a readathon round up highlighting a few of them. I wasn’t originally planning on making this a monthly feature, but I did really enjoy researching all the upcoming events and getting hyped for them, so I am at least going to do it for another month.

So, here we have some of the readathons happening in September! If I miss one you’d like to see included, you are more than welcome to let me know in the comments and I can edit them in later on 🙂

short readathons

queer lit readathon–9/26-27

This readathon is hosted by @shan_no_nosays and @kathytrithardt. It is a weekend-long readathon with the goal of reading intersectional queer lit. Queer Lit Readathon is also hosted several times a year, so if you can’t make this one, never fear! Another event will be just around the corner.

sapphic saturday–9/12-13

Arin from Tomes of our Lives is hosting this sapphic (wlw) readathon in mid-September! You can check out her announcement post here. Sapphic Saturday (&Sunday) is a low-key readathon focused on consuming whatever sapphic media your heart desires. You can also check out this readathon on Twitter at  sapphicsaturday and post about it using #sapphicsaturdays!

nancy drew readathon–9/27-10/10

Nancy Drew Readathon is, you guessed it, a Nancy Drew themed readathon with prompts and task lists based on different Nancy Drew books/cases. It is hosted by @backinbookshelf. There are a lot of fun prompts, with about 4 “tasks” to complete for each case.

latinx readathon–9/15-24

Latinx Readathon is focusing on reading Latinx-authored literature! There are 5 prompts to help inspire your reading, which you can find here.

longer readathons

latinx book bingo–9/15-10/15

This is another Latinx Heritage Month inspired readathon hosted from mid-September into October! This readathon uses a bingo board for book prompts to inspire your reading. You can find more information on Twitter.

not safe for workathon–9/1-30

NSFWathon uses prompts based on some very fun but very not safe for work themes. You can find the prompts here. I’m also pretty pumped about the group book, which I’ve seen around on book Twitter a lot.

stranger things readathon

I just discovered this readathon and am highly considering adding it to my ambitious readathon schedule because I love ST (even though I never finished season 3). For this readathon, you pick a team and read books based on the prompts for that team. You can find more info here.

here & queerathon–ALL YEAR

Hello, shameless plug for my own readathon, the Here & Queerathon, which runs until December 31, 2020! The goal is to read books by queer authors and/or featuring queer rep. You can find more info on the Here & Queerathon tab on my main menu.

a touch of whimsy

A Touch of Whimsy is an Alice in Wonderland-inspired readathon that you can find more info about here. The prompts are all based on different elements of the Alice in Wonderland story for this round. A Touch of Whimsy is a middle grade book club.

bookish news is good news // 8/28/20

Hello, friends, and welcome to the first edition of my new feature, Bookish News is Good News! In case you missed my announcement post, BNIGN is a new, original feature on Cotton Candy Book Witch focusing on highlighting exciting news throughout the book and blogging communities.

Typically, this will be a bi-weekly feature, so it won’t feature news from as wide a date range as this post will, but I wanted a place to share all the good news I’ve gathered over the past few weeks with this first post!

one last stop cover reveal

Last week, EW revealed the cover for Casey McQuiston’s (author of RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE) upcoming queer romcom, ONE LAST STOP. The book was pitched as “a queer spin on Kate & Leopold.”

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston CR: Little, Brown

alisha rai announces “first comes like”

Alisha Rai, author of the wonderful Modern Love series that began with THE RIGHT SWIPE and continued this year in GIRL GONE VIRAL, announced this week that the series is continuing, focusing on the character of Jia, in a new book coming February 2021 called FIRST COMES LIKE:

Preorder on Amazon

bookmarks by netflix

Netflix announced mid-August that they are going to be producing a new show called “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices,” a show where each episode will feature a different Black children’s book author. Each book featured will be read aloud by a Black celebrity. The show comes out on September 1. We stan.

qamar blog tours

Qamar Blog Tours announced on Twitter that they have launched their website! Qamar is a book tour company featuring works by Muslim authors, focused on getting those books in the hands of #ownvoices Muslim reviewers. You can find out more information on becoming a host on this page. They welcome book bloggers, book tubers, and bookstagrammers! Congratulations, Qamar Blog Tours!

reese’s book club ya pick

Reese’s Book Club by actor Reese Witherspoon announced that she will be featuring a YA pick each month in addition to her usual adult choice. The first book she has chosen for her YA pick is 2020 debut author Leah Johnson’s YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN!! This book is about a sapphic Black girl who decides to run for prom queen when a scholarship falls through, but ends up falling for one of the girls she’s competing against. I am so excited this book is going to reach so many people through Reese’s book club.

surrender your sons launch event

Registration has opened for the launch event for debut author Adam Sass’ YA book, SURRENDER YOUR SONS. This is a dark YA story about a group of mlm boys trying to escape conversion therapy on a mysterious island. You can register for the event here.

www wednesday // 8-26-20

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

what are you currently reading?

I am currently reading kind of two books. I started GIRL, SERPENT, THORN right before my vacation but haven’t read much of it yet. I also decided to start FIVE DARK FATES even though I just started GIRL, SERPENT, THORN because I just couldn’t wait to find out what happens to Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe (okay, mostly Arsinoe and Katharine, because Mirabella is dry toast).

what are you reading next?

I keep meaning to read HORRID before it comes out, so I should probably get around to that one, though I also really want to read PLAIN BAD HEROINES by Emily Danforth soon.

what did you just finish?

I recently posted my review for NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU, which was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020. Sadly, it did not live up to my personal expectations, but I would still recommend it to people.